All posts by robin

Brazil Wine

A Taste of Wine From Brazil

The most exciting sparkling wine I have tasted recently is from Brazil. It’s the Casa Valduga 130 Limited Edition, and I discovered it an exclusive event promoting Brazilian wine in Atlanta.

The sparkling wine is similar to Champagne as it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and gets its bubbles via the traditional method. It has lovely creamy and toasty notes with flavors of lemon, dried apricot and almond. Elegant with small and lively bubbles, the Casa Valduga 130 is an excellent introduction to the wines of Brazil.

Casa Valduga was one of five Brazilian wineries showcasing their wines at the event put on by Wines of Brasil in partnership with the Brazilian embassy and consulate. The food at Fogo de Chão provided the perfect pairings. Atlanta was the second city on the tour, which included Miami, Washington, D.C. and New York.

The Wines of Brasil event started appropriately with bubbles. As I found out, Brazilians love sparkling wine and drink a lot of it.

Of course Brazil is better known for its Cachaça, but their wine is gaining momentum outside the country. Brazil is the 6th largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere, with 750 wineries and 79,000 hectares of vineyards. Brazil’s six main wine regions are in the south of the country, which is on the same parallel as South Africa.

Though the main grapes are generally French varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Chardonnay, Muscat and Riesling – the winemaking owes much to Italian tradition. All five of the wineries at the Atlanta event were founded by Italian immigrants or their descendants.

The United States can expect to see more Brazilian wine, as exports have greatly increased in the past year. Here are Brazilian wineries and wines to look for:

Casa Valduga

Founded in 1875, when Luiz Valduga arrived from northern Italy, Casa Valduga is still family-run today. It is a popular spot to visit in Brazil, welcoming more than 200,000 visitors per year. In addition to the winery there are guest houses and a restaurant. Casa Valduga is the official wine of the Brazilian Government.

Besides the 130 Limited Edition sparkling wine, Casa Valduga produces a brut and brut rosé. I also enjoyed the Casa Valduga Cabernet Franc. By the way, the Casa Valduga 130 costs approximately $34.99, which is a great value for its taste and quality.
www.casavalduga.com.br

Vinicola Salton

The third generation of the Salton family runs this winery, which was founded in 1910 by six brothers. Their father, Antonio Domenico Salton, arrived in Brazil from Veneto in northern Italy in 1878.

Salton is the largest producer of sparkling wine in Brazil. The Brut and Intenso Moscato were featured at the tasting event, as were two reds: a Tannat and a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.
www.salton.com.br

Casa Perini

Casa Perini was founded in 1970, though the Perini family has been growing grapes and producing wines in Brazil since 1929. The first generation of the Perini Family arrived from Italy in 1876.

The wines range from the fun and easy-drinking Macaw line to the sophisticated Quatro, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Ancellotta and Tannat.
www.casaperini.com.br

Miolo

The Miolo Wine Group traces its roots of wine production in Brazil to 1897. After decades of growing grapes, the company decided to produce its own wine in 1990. In 2003 they brought on Michel Rolland as consulting winemaker.

With the combination of skilled grape growing and French expertise, Miolo wines are delicious examples of the fine wine being made in Brazil. The Lote 43, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, was one of my favorites at the tasting.
www.miolo.com.br

Mioranza

Mioranza was founded in 1964 by four Italian brothers who were the second generation of the Mioranza family in Brazil. The winery is mainly a negociant; 90% of the grapes come from small producers, and 10% come from their vineyards.

RioBravo is a line of sparkling wines, offering dry, semi-sweet and sweet styles. Under the bright Mioranza label there are whites and reds that also range from dry to sweet.
www.mioranza.com

To learn more about wine from Brazil visit the Wines of Brasil website at winesofbrasil.com.

Organicgirl Introduces New Salad Blends

Get a taste of organicgirl‘s two new salad blends! Introducing true hearts butter and true hearts butter, plus, which feature the tender and sweet hearts of butter lettuce.

Both blends have the delicious and crispy lettuce you love from organicgirl, and are ready to mix in summer salads. Like with the other blends, these feature organic lettuces that have been triple washed. Just take them right out of the package and serve!

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Experience the new true hearts blends this Sunday at Whole Foods in Buckhead when the Eat Your Hearts Out Tour comes through Atlanta.

On Sunday, June 18th from 10 am to 2 pm join blogger Cynthia Hoyt of Darling Down South for a tasting of true hearts butter and true hearts butter, plus. You’ll also be able to get exclusive recipes, VIP coupons and the chance to win prizes.

Whole Foods Buckhead is located at 77 West Paces Ferry Road NW in Atlanta.

Can’t make it to the Eat Your Hearts Out Tour? Click here to get a buy one, try one coupon, so you can enjoy both new blends for the price of one.

For more information on organicgirl lettuces and salad dressings visit iloveorganicgirl.com.

Related:
Organicgirl Introduces Green Juices and Delivery
Dress Them Your Best: Organicgirl #Flavcraze Challenge

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Returns in June

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns for its 7th year this June, showcasing the best of the South’s restaurants, food, drinks, spirits and beyond.

From Thursday, June 1st through Sunday, June 4th, unique food and beverage traditions from Texas to D.C. will be served up in more than 80 Learning Experiences, plus dinners, events and the can’t miss all-you-can-indulge Tasting Tents.

Atlanta Food & Wine FestivalComing together for the four day fete in Midtown Atlanta are award-winning chefs, mixologists, barbecue pit-masters, sommeliers, mixologists and local growers.

The best strategy is to come prepared with how you want to travel through the South. Is it through food? There are Learning Experiences about barbecue sauce, soul food vegetables and oysters. Is it through drinks? There is Bourbon, southern craft beers and Virginia’s award-winning wine. Or are you looking for a global experience, going beyond Atlanta to other southern regions around the globe? There’s Chilean, South African and Australian wine seminars, and even one on sake.

One thing is for sure – no matter the event, you’ll experience the best in wine and food. Be sure to share it via social media, with hashtags #AFWF17 and #KnowTheSouth.

If you don’t yet have tickets, here are the details:

Individual Tasting Tent Pass – $100 per Tasting Tent ticket
Day Pass – $175 per day
Weekend Pass – $435 for full weekend
Connoisseur Experience –$600 – $1,800 per ticket
Dinners & Evening Events – $25 – $225 per person, per dinner/event

Click here to purchase tickets

The Tasting Tents are open Friday, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm; Saturday, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and Sunday, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Extra advice: wear comfy shoes so you can enjoy the festival to its fullest extent. The main action happens at the Loews Hotel at 1065 Peachtree Street NE, and the Tasting Tents are located a short walk away, at Piedmont Park’s Greensward Promenade (there is a shuttle from the Loews and golf carts from the 12th street entrance to Piedmont Park). Taking public transportation or Uber is recommended, or have a designated driver. Guests must be 21 years of age or older.

For all information, visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com.

>> Connect:
Twitter: @ATLFoodAndWine
Facebook: AtlantaFoodandWineFestival
Instagram: @atlfoodandwine
Pinterest: ATLFoodAndWine
Festival Hashtags: #AFWF17 #KnowTheSouth

Related: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Celebrates the South

Headline image via Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on Instagram

Vintners Reception

What to Taste at the 2017 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Top winemakers and wineries from California and beyond will be in Atlanta March 22nd through 25th for the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. Celebrating its 25th year, the auction has raised more than $26 million for the High Museum.

Earlier: High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Returns for 25th Edition

Whether it’s your first High Museum Wine Auction or you’re a regular, here are the wines you won’t want to miss at Saturday’s Vintners’ Reception. Bonus if you love Pinot Noir.

Au Bon Climat

Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction
Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction

Owner and winemaker Jim Clendenen is one of this year’s guests of honor. It is well deserved – beyond making delicious wines, Jim is a familiar face at the wine auction and always has entertaining stories. In addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Jim brings fun and unique wines for guests to sample. Au Bon Climat is based in Santa Barbara County, in California’s Central Coast.
aubonclimat.com

Kosta Browne

Co-founders Michael Browne and Dan Kosta round out this year’s guests of honor. If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir you’ve no doubt enjoyed one from Kosta Browne. If you haven’t tasted these wines from Sonoma, you must make them one of your first stops.
kostabrowne.com

Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery's tasting room
Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery’s tasting room

Bernardus Winery

Start with the Sauvignon Blanc from this Carmel Valley, California winery and you won’t be disappointed. Bernardus was founded by Bernardus “Ben” Pon, who is from the Netherlands (you’ll notice orange in the logo). Marinus, a Bordeaux-style blend, is a must-taste. Bernardus also makes single vineyard Pinot Noirs that when sipped side-by-side offer a glimpse at the different terroir. After the wine auction you’ll want to plan a trip to the tasting room in Carmel Valley Village.
bernardus.com

Big Basin wine

Big Basin Vineyards

In the charming town of Saratoga, on the edge of Silicon Valley, is where I first discovered Big Basin Vineyards. Their small and unassuming tasting room doesn’t prepare you for the big and bold flavors of their red wine – Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rhone blends. Big Basin’s vineyards are located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Wine auction guests got their first taste of Big Basin at last year’s event; this year owner and winemaker Bradley Brown will be offering tastes of current releases. Big Basin also makes Chardonnay and white wines from Rhone grapes. I’m a big fan of their Roussanne.
bigbasinvineyards.com

Continuum Estate's vineyards on Prichard Hill
Continuum Estate’s vineyards on Prichard Hill

Continuum Estate

Continuum made a big splash at the wine auction in 2014, when father and daughter Tim and Carissa Mondavi were guests of honor. Continuum’s vineyards are located on Pritchard Hill on the east side of Napa Valley, a stunning location if you have the chance to visit. Each year Continuum produces one wine, made from the estate’s best grapes, that truly captures a sense of place and the characteristics of that vintage. More recently they introduced Novicium, a second wine made primarily with grapes from younger vines. Continuum is a prized wine that all aficionados should have in their cellar.
continuumestate.com

Domaine Della

Domaine Della

A favorite discovery from last year’s wine auction, Domaine Della returns for its second year. Owner and winemaker David Hejl named the winery for his mother, who as he will tell you, was a truly remarkable woman. David’s experience crafting high quality Pinot Noir shows in each bottle of his wine. It’s hard to pick a favorite between his Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Be sure to join Domaine Della’s list for a chance to buy wine during the spring and fall releases.
domainedella.com

Lando Wines

Sam and Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction
Sam & Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction

Sam Lando is the kind of guy who you want to have a beer – or in this case, glass of wine with. Besides being engaging and entertaining, Sam is extremely knowledgeable about Pinot Noir, having worked with Kosta Browne winery. He’s another wine auction regular, and his table is always a popular spot. Lando makes flavorful and balanced Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
landowines.com

Patel wines

Patel Winery

If full-bodied Napa Cabernet is your favorite, you must seek out Raj Patel of Patel Winery. As I wrote in 2015, “when Robert Parker awards your first wine a 95, you know you’ve made something special.” Patel wines are lush, layered and elegant, thanks to having access to some of the best grapes and the expertise of Luc Morlet, one of Napa’s top winemakers. Last year Raj debuted a Malbec, a deliciously spicy wine. This year he’ll be offering tastes of his 2014 Napa Valley Malbec, Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon.
patelwinery.com

Winderlea Pinot Noir

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

You could spend the entire Vintners’ Reception enjoying California Pinot Noir but be sure not to miss these Oregon Pinots. The name Winderlea evokes images of the breeze gently blowing through the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Founders Bill Sweat and Donna Morris made their wine auction debut last year, offering tastes of their Chardonnay and single vineyard Pinot Noirs. I can’t wait to taste what they’ll have this year.
winderlea.com

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Champagne. This year Champagne Billecart-Salmon will be offering tastes of its bubbly. I’d suggest starting there, then moving on to the wineries featured above.

The Vintners’ Reception at the 25th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 11 a.m., followed by the Live Auction. Located under the tents at the Green Lot at Turner Field.
atlanta-wineauction.org

Click to see earlier articles on the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

MAYA Steaks Seafood

Support Second Helping Atlanta at MAYA Steaks & Seafood

Chef Mimmo Alboumeh of MAYA Steaks & Seafood and Red Pepper Taqueria is not just focused on making delicious food. He’s also passionate about giving back to the local community.

Now through mid-May Chef Mimmo has partnered with Second Helping Atlanta. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aims to eliminate hunger in the Metropolitan Atlanta area by taking surplus food and delivering it to those in need.

Chef MimmoDine at MAYA Steaks & Seafood on Wednesdays through May 10th 2017, and 20% of your total bill will be donated to Second Helping Atlanta.

Call ahead to the Sandy Springs restaurant at (404) 705-8880 and reserve the Chef’s Table for Second Helpings. You may also reserve a table for 2 to 8 people through Open Table. If reserving online, include the note that you’d like to be seated at the Chef’s Table to benefit Second Helpings Atlanta.

MAYA, named for Chef Mimmo’s youngest daughter, offers top cuts of steak from Iowa Premium Black Angus and inventive seafood dishes with a signature Spanish flair.

For more information on Second Helpings Atlanta visit www.secondhelpingsatlanta.org.

MAYA Steaks & Seafood, 6152 Roswell Road, Atlanta 30328.
Offering dinner Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m to 11 p.m.
(404) 705-8880, www.mayasteaks.com

Image of Chef Mimmo courtesy Red Clay Public Relations

Related: MAYA: Superior Steak in Sandy Springs

ONE taco tuesday

Taco Tuesdays at ONE. Midtown Kitchen

Looking to get your taco fix this Tuesday? ONE. midtown kitchen is now offering a taco and Tecate special.

On Taco Tuesdays you can enjoy three different tacos created by Executive Chef Matt Weinstein and a can of the Mexican beer for just $13.

You can add rice and beans for an additional $1, and a shot of tequila for $3.

The tacos will change weekly, though you can anticipate one featuring poultry, one with seafood and one vegetarian taco.

ONE’s regular dinner menu is also available on Tuesdays. The restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m.

Taco Tuesdays at ONE. midtown kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Road, Atlanta, 30324. 404-892-4111, onemidtownkitchen.com

Photo credit: Mia Yakel

STK Atlanta

Oyster & Champagne Party at STK Atlanta

Oysters for $1 each and a glass of champagne for $5 starting at 5pm on Friday, March 31st at STK Atlanta.

You really don’t need to know much more than that. Fab food and drinks at a great price at one of Midtown’s coolest spots kind of speaks for itself.

oysters at STKBut here are the full details: STK Atlanta is hosting a “Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party” in its bistro and lounge in honor of National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. It’s from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 31st.

Fresh, chef handpicked East Coast and West Coast oysters will be $1 apiece, and the price of champagne changes based on the hour. At 5 p.m. a glass of bubbly is $5, starting at 6 p.m. it’s $6, and then it’s $7 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. A live DJ completes the party, making STK the perfect place to kick off the weekend.

Stay for dinner and add some turf to your surf, with one of STK’s mouthwatering steaks. I recommend the 28 oz Dry-Aged Porterhouse.

Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party at STK Atlanta
Friday, March 31, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
1075 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30309
(404) 793-0144, www.stkhouse.com

Images courtesy Caren West PR

Grand Velas Los Cabos

Grand Velas Los Cabos Now Open

It is hard to imagine a vacation more relaxing or indulgent than one at the ultra luxe Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The only thing that could possibly top that would be a stay at the newly opened Grand Velas Los Cabos.

Grand Velas has redefined the category of luxury all-inclusives, with Michelin star-type dining, top shelf liquors, high-end wines and 24 hour room service.

Grand Velas Los Cabos officially opened on December 20, 2016. It is located between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, about 35 minutes away from Los Cabos International Airport. It’s the fifth property of Velas Resorts.

Grand Velas Los Cabos room

All of the rooms are suites and feature stunning ocean views, expansive bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and L’Occitane bath products, daily stocked premium mini-bars (raid them any time, it’s part of the all-inclusive experience), and a Nespresso coffee maker.

Four gourmet restaurants offer fine dining with flavors from around the world. The signature restaurant, Cocina de Autor, is helmed by a two star Michelin chef. Guests also have the opportunity to discover local wines – the Baja California region produces Mexico’s best.

Grand Velas Cocina

Frida, open nightly, offers a contemporary take on classic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant recently debuted the world’s most expensive taco, made with Kobe beef, Almas Beluga caviar and black truffle brie cheese and topped with an exotic salsa of dried Morita chili peppers, Ley.925 Ultra Premium Añejo tequila and civet coffee. It is served on a gold flake-infused corn tortilla. The taco costs $25,000 USD (unfortunately not included in the all-inclusive rate). Enjoy it with a bottle of Ley.925 Pasión Azteca Ultra Premium Añejo tequila for an additional $150,000 USD.

25K taco Grand Velas

At Grand Velas Los Cabos guests can stroll miles of uninterrupted beach or relax by the three tiered infinity pools. The two-level, 35,000 square foot spa offers ultimate relaxation. Massage treatments begin with a “Water Journey,” a series of alternating hot and cold experiences that end in the multi-sensory pool.

Rates at Grand Velas Los Cabos start at $750 per person per night in double occupancy. The all-inclusive rate includes luxury suite accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals and premium brand beverages at the more than 10 restaurants and bars, 24-hour in-suite service, a fitness center and nightly entertainment. The spa is not included in the all-inclusive rate.

For more information visit http://loscabos.grandvelas.com.

photos courtesy Grand Velas Los Cabos

Related: A Luxurious Getaway Awaits You at Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Federalist Dueling Pistols

AG Pick: The Federalist Dueling Pistols 2014

How does a Syrah, Zinfandel, red blend from the West Coast
Taste when you raise it for a toast?

I’ve had the hit musical Hamilton on the brain for months and I couldn’t help but think about the opening number when I was pouring a glass of The Federalist Dueling Pistols.

The name of the wine was inspired by the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma.

Federalist Dueling PistolsDueling Pistols is the latest wine from The Federalist, a series of wines that honor America’s Founding Fathers and their ideals.

It’s a great concept for a California red wine blend. Zinfandel, a proudly American grape (and definitely the Hamilton in this duel), faces off with Syrah, a grape that can be on its own or in blends, but is typically blended with Rhone varieties including Grenache and Mourvedre.

The Syrah and Zinfandel grapes for Dueling Pistols were separately fermented. After blending, the wine spent 15 months in 20% new American and Hungarian oak barrels. American oak was used to add sweeter notes, Hungarian to add spice.

Fortunately for us, this duel has a happy outcome – a rich and robust wine that’s enjoyable to drink.

Dark purple in color as you would expect with these two grapes, The Federalist Dueling Pistols has spicy berry and smoky aromas. The taste is bold with flavors of black cherry, ripe plum and blackberry rounded out with black pepper, root beer and a touch of smoked meat. Smooth tannins and good acidity give the wine a supple mouthfeel.

Pair the Federalist Dueling Pistols with roasted chicken or turkey, or red meat. Fittingly, it’s perfect at an all-American barbecue.

The only duel you might find yourself in is fighting over the last sip.

A bottle of The Federalist 2014 Dueling Pistols costs $29.

The Federalist wines are produced by Terlato Wines. Dueling Pistols is not associated with Hamilton: An American Musical.

14.5% alcohol

Scofflaw Beer Dinner at The Cowfish on March 13

How do Atlanta’s newest craft brews pair with sushi and burgers? Find out on March 13th when The Cowfish hosts a special dinner with Scofflaw Brewing Company.

Cowfish logoAtlanta is the latest city to welcome The Cowfish, a unique dining experience that brings together fresh Scofflaw logoand innovative sushi with classic and gourmet burgers. The restaurant is located at the Perimeter Mall.

Scofflaw Brewing Company has been earning rave reviews since their beers debuted last October in metro Atlanta.

The Scofflaw beer dinner will be held at 6pm on Monday, March 13th. Four courses of Cowfish favorites will be paired with an assortment of brews, with a Scofflaw brewer on hand to talk about each sip.  Here is a peek at the menu:

First Course
Signature handmade nigiri of salmon, tuna and Hamachi
Sneaky Wheat | Imperial American Wheat

Second Course
Blackened Tuna Nachos – Seared Ahi tuna with
avocado salsa and crab rangoon dip
Deliverance Roll – Burgushi selection made with pulled pork,
housemade BBQ sauce and bacon coleslaw
Basement | East Coast IPA

Third Course
Two all-natural mini burgers selected from the
“minis of the week” rotation:
Boursin & Bacon
Luchador
Double Jeopardy | Double IPA

Fourth Course
Flourless chocolate torte with raspberry sauce,
caramel and sesame brittle
Interrogation | Coffee Milk Stout

The dinner costs $40 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (770) 225-0009 or emailing kevin@thecowfish.com. For more information check out the event’s Facebook page.

Scofflaw Beer Dinner at The Cowfish, March 13, 2017 at 6 pm. Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, GA 30346. (770) 225-0009